Today in Jacksonville, a Spanish teacher who had just been fired returned to the school and shot dead the woman who ran it. Then he shot himself. I learned of this from my wife, who knew the woman pretty well. She’s late coming home from work tonight because she’s attending a vigil for the victim.
This kind of thing happens with depressing regularity. Particularly in this country. You read about it and shake your head. My first thought is always of the gunman — it’s pretty much always a man — and what sort of thought process could lead to such an act. I can never quite figure it. I always think: If suicide is in the picture, why not do that first? Maybe you have to be crazy to understand.
My next thought is of the gun. In this case, it seems to have been an AK-47 knock-off, about the most common firearm in existence. That’s an assault rifle. It was originally designed to engage armed combatants at medium range. In America, it has two other uses: Imaginary penis enlargement and engaging unarmed innocents at point-blank range. Your right to own one is guaranteed by the NRA.
All murderers are crazy in some way or other, but the choice of weapon says a lot. By owning this sort of gun, it seems obvious that this particular gunman intended a dramatic exit, no matter the circumstances. He was just waiting for the time. To kill one person and then yourself doesn’t require a military weapon. But if the idea of killing people appeals to you, then a military weapon is just what you’ll own. At this moment, I wouldn’t mind seeing a list of recently fired people who own AK-47 knock-offs. But that’s not going to happen, is it?
My other observation on this tragedy concerns the mouth-breathing cretins who comment on news stories like this. If you look at the comments on the CNN story, you will quickly understand two things: First, anonymity is the scourge of the Internet. Second, widespread access to assault weapons is only a small part of what is what ails the United States in 2012. The biggest thing is just blind, unfeeling ignorance.